How to live on coupons

Plan your social life around Internet discounts.

Three cocktails for $12!

The deal: After arriving at Daioh Sushi (300 W 23rd St between Eighth and Ninth Aves, 212-727-0888), I was allowed to choose from fruity drinks (regularly $8 each) like the berrylicious chu-hai (made with shochu). But I would have rather spent the $12 on three happy-hour brews at a bar with tinted windows, instead of a sushi joint.
The source:
How it works: This aggregator site spurts out free coupons for cultural events, food, shopping and services. N.B.: You have to sift through a good many deals before you find anything of real value here.

Free iced chocolate!

The deal: The 16-ounce frozen hot chocolate drink from Lily O'Brien's Chocolate Caf (36 W 40th St between Fifth and Sixth Aves; 212-575-0631, was delicious, especially since it regularly costs $4.50 and I got it for nothing. True, it was on the tiny side, but I never would have sprung for it—and I might even come back to try the store's other treats.
The source: Homerun.comHow it works: Coupons here must be purchased, and are only valid if enough people buy them. You get your first one free as a reward for completing the registration.

Free milk shake!

The deal: Kool Bloo (719 Second Ave between 38th and 39th Sts; 212-687-5665, delivered right to TONY's offices from the restaurant in Murray Hill—no charge, no delivery minimum. The small vanilla milk shake (regularly $4.50) was a guilty pleasure.
The source:
How it works: This service features deals from around the city, via e-mail newsletter and a blog.

$50 dinner for $28!

The deal: I gorged on a three-course dinner of fried oysters, a house salad and a lean, tender steak with perfectly whipped mashed potatoes at Walker's Restaurant (16 North Moore St between Hudson and Varick Sts, 212-941-0172). Instead of settling for the cheapest entre I could find, I was able to feast like Henry VIII.
The source:
How it works: A $10 coupon grants diners $25 credit at various eateries; the site frequently e-mails promo codes that can drop the price of coupons down to as low as $2.

$22 dinner for $14!

The deal: Luchador masks and other Mexican wrestling memorabilia plaster the walls at La Lucha (147 Ave A between 9th and 10th Sts; 212-260-0235, where I sampled a three-course tasting dinner (regularly $22.25). The steak in the mil mascaras platter (three warm, soft steak, cheese, bacon and onion tacos) was cooked to chewy perfection, and the thick slices of fried plantain were syrupy sweet.
How to get it: provides limited-time deals on services like spa treatments and dinners; the coupon must be bought online, then printed out and presented to the vendor.

Free comedy!

The deal: EastVille Comedy Club(85 E 4th St at Second Ave; 212-260-2445, was strictly utilitarian—it felt like I was watching comedy in a hospital rec room, and I would have felt ripped off by the regular $20 cover (which my coupon negated). There was still a two-drink minimum, but I got by with cans of PBR for $5 each. The quality of the four stand-up comics varied from middling to uproarious, and I found myself inching toward the door at certain points.
The source:
How it works: This blog highlights at least one deal each day—some are organized by the site and require mentioning it in order to cash in, others don't.

Cheap theater!

The deal: Ordering tickets—$21.50 for a matinee performance of Everyday Rapture, valued at $91.50—was simple and quick, even at 7pm the day before the Tony-nominated show, which musically chronicles a Mennonite's journey to becoming a Broadway actor.
The source:
How it works: The Roundabout Theatre Company's free program (TONY is a partner) provides low-price tickets for all of its shows to people ages 18 to 35.